Law enforcement seizes $9M in crypto stolen during romance scams

Nearly $9 million worth of Tether was seized from a cyber scam network that exploited victims through romance and cryptocurrency confidence scams.

In a press release on November 21st, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) states that seized funds were traced to cryptocurrency addresses allegedly associated with an organized network of scammers engaged in exploiting over 70 victims across the US through a scheme commonly referred to as "pig butchering."

According to court documents, criminals coordinated actions to target victims, earning their trust and tricking them into making cryptocurrency deposits. Scammers created fraudulent websites, deceiving victims who were led to believe they were reputable firms and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Agents and analysts from the US Secret Service (USSS) were able to trace victim deposits that were quickly laundered. Scammers use a technique called “chain hopping,” when deposited funds are laundered by being transferred through dozens of cryptocurrency addresses and exchanged for several different cryptocurrencies.

According to Nicole M. Argentieri, Acting Assistant Attorney General at DoJ Criminal Division, the seizure disrupted the financial infrastructure of the network.

The US law enforcement in the Northern District of California is handling the case and the seized $9 million worth of Tether cryptocurrency.

Tether is a stablecoin, which means it is a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar. First launched in 2014, Tether’s total market value of a cryptocurrency's circulating supply reaches $88 billion.

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